However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
I'm not proud to admit it, but the second my alarm clock goes off every morning my mind starts racing. Immediately I enter a battle against my thoughts, striving to set aside quiet time for God before the proverbial "to-do" list begins to call my name.
Given that it's almost the end of the year and Christmas is just barely in my rearview mirror, that list is even more stacked than usual. Life seems crazy enough; the holiday season makes it almost frenetic. And once the clock strikes midnight and 2019 makes an appearance, my mind will begin to focus on "a new year, a new me" which only adds more stuff to get done.
I know I'm not alone in this feeling. Friends and family I talk to usually rattle off their own to-do list before they even answer the question of how they're doing. Often our conversations end with a comment akin to, "I'll be happy when 2018 is behind me" or "Once _______ is over I'll be less stressed."
It seems that we've lost sight of the reason for the season, not to mention the opportunity to finish the year well.
In today's passage, Paul is speaking to the elders from the church of Ephesus the night before leaving for Jerusalem. In his farewell speech, he clearly states his plan (to leave for Jerusalem) and his priority, to complete the job the Lord has given him - the job of spreading the Gospel. It appears that Paul has one item on his to-do list and that God wrote it in.
The simplicity and power of Paul's mission is a calling on my heart. It is a reminder of my sole purpose - to love God and spread His Good News. As an item on my to-do list, it trumps everything else. Paul's clarity and urgency are in stark contrast to my own clouded and frantic end of the year demeanor. Is it possible that my to-do list needs to be re-worked?'
Today as I pause to prepare my day I'm going to ask God to re-write my to-do list.
My guess is He will have much more profound tasks for me to focus on; tasks that pertain to my heart like cultivating compassion and seeking humility. He might even ask me to put down the to-do list and simply rest in my relationship with Him. Who knows? But today I give the list to Him, and let His Holy Spirit guide my steps amid this busy season.
What has God laid on your heart to focus on today? Will you give Him permission to guide your steps in this busy time?
God, thank you for the opportunity to live in Your will today. I will keep my mind and my actions focused on Your purposes and not allow myself to become distracted by my own. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.